Middle school boys basketball falls short to St. Anslem’s at home


Joshua Dori

Eighth grader Aviv Stein dribbles the ball on a fast break.

Joshua Dori and Penelope Terl

As eighth grade point guard Aviv Stein dribbles down the court, he calls out the play “Carolina.” The team gets into position. He quickly passes the ball to eighth grader Caleb Berman, who knocks down a shot to put the middle school boys basketball team on the board.

Going into Monday’s game, Stein and his teammates were especially motivated to beat the St. Anselm’s team after they knocked the Lions out of the playoffs last year. Additionally, the Lions wanted to preserve this year’s five-game winning streak. But despite strong play on both sides, the Lions lost, 25-37.

“We’ll learn from this,” head coach Jonathan McClure said. “This is our first loss of the season, so it’ll be a good experience for everybody.”

The starting lineup consisted of Stein, Berman, seventh grader Hillel Goldberg, eighth graders Noah Sacks and Shiah Messler. Out of the gate, the St. Anselm’s Panthers dominated the Lions and made a three-pointer and layup. The Lions called a time-out, but the Panthers still managed to score another three-pointer before the end of the first quarter.

The Panthers continued their lead in the second quarter, scoring five additional points. However, the Lions made some progress with shots by Messler, Stein and Berman bringing the score up to 6-13. After a buzzer-beater three-pointer by the Panthers, the second quarter came to an end with a score of 10-18. 

The third quarter brought more intensity to the game. Both teams played more physically, causing Lions and Panthers alike to be pushed to the ground. Stein and Sacks were both knocked down, but both got back up and kept playing. The third quarter ended with a 19-24 score in favor of the Panthers. 

“I told them before the game, ‘They’re gonna be physical with you, and grabbing you, holding you, and …you guys can’t let their physicality influence the way we play,’” McClure said.

Things came to a head in the fourth quarter, with the Lions attempting two free throws and the Panthers attempting four due to both normal and technical fouls. St. Anselm’s scored 11 points and the Lions scored four. This brought the final score to 25-37 and secured a win for St. Anselm’s.

With hopes for the team to go all the way this year, Messler is aware that the Lions will likely have to face the Panthers again, but has high hopes for the future. 

We still can win,” Messler said. “I don’t think this is a team that we will always lose to.”

Although the Lions ultimately came up short, the team hopes to rebound from this in their upcoming game on Wednesday against Spencerville Adventist Academy.

“…[W]e’re mad about it. We want to beat them. They ended our season last year,” Stein said. “But you know, you learn more from loss than you do from a win, and we’ll just keep continuing to build off from here.”